My Bonnaroo experience
This article was updated June 13, 2015 at 7:09 p.m.
On June 11 at 12 a.m. I began my first journey to Bonnaroo. My expectations were high.
Several weeks ago, I had been granted two media passes to the magical world of Bonnaroo. I decided that I would be so kind and also take the Editor-in-Chief of Eagle News, Kelli Krebs.
After driving 11 hours overnight, I finally passed the Manchester City line. It was a beautiful drive, I mean who doesn’t love a good roadtrip?
Once at my exit, finally after over 700 miles of the highway, I was greeted by Tennessee State Troopers actually blocking the exit. We could see our media check-in location waiting behind them.
“OK…” I thought. “Maybe the way they are directing us is quicker.”
As media, we were instructed to meet at an undisclosed location off-site to receive our passes, but state troopers had other plans. We were stopped and instructed us to the Bonnaroo grounds.
Once at the grounds I asked everyone how to get to the media check-in, but no one working had an answer. So I approached guest services.
Check-in and registration was a mess. No one knew their responsibilities and everyone seemed confused when I mentioned anything about media. It was as if I was speaking a different language.
After some time in the guest services tent, I was finally granted a wristband. I thought to myself “I have not slept in nearly 25 hours but I have the golden ticket.”
Once receiving my wrist, it as time for a car search before entering the grounds.
They just looked at everything in the back of the over-packed Honda Civic and said “OK,” then asked to see the trunk. This is when they opened the cooler.
I had made this journey with Kelli Krebs, the 21 year-old editor-in-chief of Eagle News.
Security informed us that they would be taking every alcoholic drink that was in a bottle. Why? Because they were in bottles, glass bottles. I guess that’s my bad for not reading the rules… but I want to know why this is even a rule?
While I am underage, I understand the price of drinks at any festival. I watched as security took every beer bottle from Kelli’s cold, dead cooler. The light disappeared from her eyes as handles were poured into the grass around us. Left with whatever she could pour into water bottles, the majority of the alcoholic collection was gone.
That’s when we received a bag for garbage and a bag for recycling. We were instructed to recycle all glass bottles and materials we had; if we had any.
Finally in the grounds, we were pointed to our campsite and that was that. Kelli and I built our tent and set up our home for the next four days. Again incredibly unprepared, we were the only ones without a canopy shade or kitchen area.
Our neighbors approached us, everyone around us already knew us as the girls who got their booze taken. Our neighbors invited us into their tent, offered up beers and their names. We became acquainted quickly and were telling our life stories within minutes.
You know what they say about Bonnaroo, about everyone being family? Well it’s true. You can talk to anyone as any time about anything. Well, except for the girls next to us. They were like distant cousins.
Everyone was creative. There is constant crafting and painting. It’s amazing. The general store here even sells cans of spray paint.
With very little interest in the first day’s performances, I didn’t make my way to the festival main grounds until later that evening to see a disappointing act by The Growlers (more to come on that).
Around midnight, the fatigue had set in and the only thing I wanted was that dreamy blow up mattress back at my site.
I made my way back and the night ended on my pillow in minutes.
After waking up at 5 a.m., I found endless grasshoppers snoozing all around my tent. It was silent, a bit brisk. To my surprise, when I went outside, I was probably the only person awake.
After trying not to look like I haven’t showered in two days, I headed off to find some food.
Kelli opted for some biscuits and gravy. Now, these weren’t your everyday biscuits and gravy, they were legendary biscuits and gravy. I tried to be healthy and get a smoothie, which was nice, but I ended up eating all of Kelli’s breakfast. As Kelli put it, “They are the best damn biscuits I have ever had in my life. I will have dreams about them for the rest of my life.” She’s slightly melodramatic.
I spent the next few hours exploring. Did you know Bonnaroo has its own post office? Yeah, I didn’t know that.
You know what else? Bonnaroo has some of the best food I’ve ever experienced.
People at Bonnaroo generally don’t wait in lines for things, unless it’s at the entrance. People were lining up for these donuts, so what did I do? I jumped in line. I ordered what everyone else was ordering, a glazed donut. I wasn’t ready for this donut. I swear this was a donut sent from above. They were all handmade, on site, and it physically left a donut hole in my heart.
And of course, what else did I do but seek out more food?
BBQ pulled pork sandwiches—I decided to pick the meat from it because the bread was soggy and I personally don’t like coleslaw (I know, I’m a Southern failure). But the meat was tender and quite delicious.
Then came the bacon, There was literally a Bacon Land. It was all Bacon. So, naturally, I gravitated toward it. A bacon grilled cheese sandwich somehow found its way into my hands and into my mouth. Perfection, I mean, it is bacon, why wouldn’t it be?
While I love Bonnaroo, and I love the people and the environment, I cannot help myself but to love the food.
Although I may not like coleslaw, I love my country music. Last summer I saw Zac Brown Band with Kacey Musgraves in Tampa, Florida. That’s where I fell in love with Kacey; when I saw her on this year’s Bonnaroo lineup, it was a must. Her performance was fantastic. She’s cute, she’s witty and just an overall good time. She even managed to draw in the crowd who weren’t country fans.
At this point I was traveling with my new “Roo Crew,” as they call it up here. It consisted of me, Kelli Krebs and our neighbors back at camp.
Kendrick Llamar was our next stop .He was better than I had ever expected. His energy kept the crowd going, and even if you didn’t know him or like his music, you couldn’t help but enjoy this performance.
He was followed by Deadmau5. Oh Deadmau5 (For those of you who don’t listen to electric dance music or just live under a rock, his name is pronounced dead-mouse). He is known for being an iconic, EDM artist, helping the genre make its big break through. I’ve always dreamed about seeing him live, and it was everything I’ve always dreamed of.
The weather was perfect; the food was great; the people were pleasant, and the artists were fantastic. So far, Bonnaroo has been nothing but a really positive experience.